Though some suggest the Republicans’ effort to push through “tax reform” will likely fail like their effort to repeal Obamacare, the White House and its corporate allies have undertaken a coordinated campaign to ensure the passage of a tax code rewrite that stands to fatten the pockets of the wealthiest.
Launching Wednesday, for example is a $2.5 million TV ad from American Action Network (AAN), a conservative group linked to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which claims “America’s tax code is sabotaging our economy.” The spending on the ad, which will run on national cable and air in 24 Republican-held congressional districts, marks half of the $5 million the group pledged to spend on its “full-scale campaign” to push the effort during the August recess.
The high-powered group, CNN notes, is just “one of many right-leaning organizations pushing Congress to act on the issue.”
Indeed, the ad comes amidst promotional efforts by Koch brothers-affiliated groups to bolster the GOP tax cut endeavor, including an ad blitz of their own and a line-up of events in 36 states.
There’s also a more stealth effort underway far closer to the Oval Office.
“We stopped TrumpCare,” Indivisible declared, “and now it’s time to stop these tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations paid for by taking away Medicare, Medicaid, and education.”The heart of this “tightly orchestrated process,” write Justin Sink, Jennifer Jacobs, and Sahil Kapur, “is a weekly, all-hands-on-deck meeting to coordinate the campaign by the president and his allies to win passage of sweeping changes to individual and corporate tax laws, according to four White House officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal plans.”
The members of these “Ted Team” gathering, led by White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short, “include representatives of major power centers within the administration: the Office of American Innovation, led by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, the Treasury Department, headed by Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Vice President Mike Pence’s staff and Gary Cohn’s National Economic Council,” the reporting continues.
Buttressing that effort are weekly conference calls with groups including the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation, as well as the White House dispatching to local town halls and media events “corporate chief executives and leaders of conservative groups and trade associations.”
“White House officials acknowledge a major failure in the healthcare fight was getting outflanked by Democrats in organizing the public and activists,” Bloomberg reports.
With this new agenda item on the docket, the Indivisible team is gearing up, writing on Twitter Wednesday morning: “Trump’s tax cuts for the rich are what’s next,” and linking to a “toolkit” that offers a handful of questions constituents can ask their representatives on the issue during this month’s recess.
Here’s the first thing to know: this is not going to be true tax reform. Calling it “tax reform” suggests they intend to close corporate loopholes or address the growing wealth inequality that the current tax code fuels. But that’s not what Republicans have in mind.
Instead, they want tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations paid for by taking away Medicare, Medicaid, and education funding. Since they want to pass their tax cut plan through the Senate with only 51 votes, they have to follow the rules of reconciliation. One of the rules is that the legislation can’t add to the deficit after ten years—meaning that, in order to make their tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, they intend to make deep cuts to entitlements to offset them. One of the rules is that the legislation can’t add to the deficit after ten years—meaning that, in order to make their tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, they intend to make deep cuts to entitlements to offset them.
“We stopped TrumpCare,” the group declared, “and now it’s time to stop these tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations paid for by taking away Medicare, Medicaid, and education.”
This post first appeared on Common Dreams.